Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fair Thee Well - A More Than Fare Story

It’s a beautiful day in Minnesota. I attended Mass this morning. I wanted to walk to Mass but it’s a little too far (six blocks) and that's a little too hard on my feet. Yet I love walking in autumn. And it feels autumnal in Minnesota today. I’m wearing a fleece.

It’s State Fair time again. I live about three miles from the grounds. I used to love going to the fair. I was raised on a farm so we participated in 4H and took pigs to the county fair. In our youth, my sister Debora won a ribbon and a trip to the state fair. She was a local champ but remained unnoticed in the statewide ring.

I don’t go to the Fair anymore. It’s too much walking for my diabetic feet. My sister Carol and I used to go to the fair together. Each year we found a spot and sat and watched the world go by. We held a yearly contest to see how many people we knew. Carol always won.

Our tradition came to its close two years ago. Four years ago I had to part with part of my foot. So, I spent three months on a cot in the front room of my parents’ home waiting for my wound to grow together. Seriously. I couldn’t sit for the first month, so I spent my hours looking out a large picture window and reviewing my life. The beginning of this blog is a reflection on those reflections.

Three years ago, I didn’t attend the fair. Although I persisted in my discipline and followed my podiatrist’s advice, my foot wouldn’t cooperate. It retained its risky behavior. I spent months that year in a orthotic boot or an opened toe shoe.

Two years ago, I went with Carol to the fair. We found a spectacular spot on a bench. I wore the boot again. I didn't want to risk anyone stepping on my foot, so I sat with crossed legs as we watched and counted the passing. I hadn’t counted on injuring my foot again. And I didn’t. I injured the vein under my knee and I had to restart physical therapy until I could walk without dragging my leg and dropping my foot.

Last year I didn’t take the risk and I stayed home with my staid heart. I felt badly for Carol. We loved sitting there side by side. And as an aside but hardly beside the point - Carol was my nurse during my recuperation. She bandaged me. She cheered me. She read to me. She comforted me when I felt such despair. And she’s not a nurse. She’s just a loving sister.

I won’t attend the fair this year. I’ve learned my lesson. And I’m not in the state of despair. I realize that I must pay the fare for the gifts that I’ve received. I am so grateful for everything God’s given me. If enlightenment literally costs an arm or my leg, I’ve always known that His judgment was fair. I was quite decadent.

I can state that I am so grateful for two feet and two legs. And I’m so grateful that now when I fall on my knees, it’s in gratitude and not in supplication. I’m not a fair-weather follower. I’ll rise to my feet and state my gratitude whether I retain my feet or not. Either way - He’s fair.